- Introduction:Continental History and the American Revolution in DuVal and Taylor
Continental history is not new. Historians have applied a continental lens to the study of early America since the days of Francis Parkman, Frederick Jackson Turner, and Herbert Bolton. While the approach may have deep historiographical roots, important recent works have turned to continental history with fresh eyes to reinterpret the American Revolution with a more expansive geography in mind. Two works have garnered significant attention in this regard: Kathleen DuVal's Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution and Alan Taylor's American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750–1804.
The review editors of the JER solicited three review essays from prominent scholars in the field to ask them to assess the impact of these books on the field and to use them as a starting point to assess where the field is now and where it ought to go. Unfortunately, the third reviewer was unable to complete the assignment, so we are running two rather than three essays. With the 250th anniversary of 1776 moving closer, we hope that this forum will provide a way to assess recent trends and developments in American revolutionary historiography and suggest what scholars still need to be thinking about in an area that is once again generating a great deal of interest. [End Page 537]